Friday, September 11, 2009

Heating Things Up

Today is the first day I used the heater in #402. It was a nice 55 degrees outside, rainy and foggy, perfect EV weather...not. I've been reluctant to try the heater as I've heard it would suck the life juice out of the pack at record speed, after all it is an electric heater and we all know how much energy they can use.

After a few miles of driving I was getting cold enough to cave and turn that puppy on. I set the dial to max heat and put the fan on about half speed. First thing I noticed was cold air, different from a gas engine that has been running awhile which produces instant heat. Not in the MINI E, it was cold for about 30 secs and after the heating coils heated up it blew warm. Once going it works really well in fact, the cabin warmed up fast and all was nice and toasty, things were good...mostly. I looked down at my range indicator and right before my eyes I lost 3 miles and this was while I was regenning down a hill. Wow!! That heater takes some power...I dialed back the fan speed to 1 and reduced the heat temp by half, that helped but I was still using more power then I was accustomed to, I would say more then even the AC. Of course I had driving lights and wipers on but still.

I eventually turned off the heater all together, gained some distance back but overall my range dropped by nearly 20% just in my 20 mile drive and I only used the heater for 10 minutes of my 40 min run. This is a lot of drain and we have not even touched on the freezing days where I will need to keep the heater on.

Have any pioneers driven with the heater on for extended periods of time and what have you observed?

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